Ok, here’s a question I’ve always had: If you fly to another country and plan to do a big self-supported bike tour there, where do you store your bike bag and luggage bag(s) while you’re out riding for days (or weeks) on end? Do airports have a service that will keep your bags for you while you’re away? Or something else?
When traveling overseas I try to arrive and leave from the same airport. That way you can leave stuff at your first and last night’s accommodation.
If my return journey starts at another airport I leave the bike bag at home and get a bike carton from my favorite bike shop, pack the bike in that, dispose of the carton at first accommodation, then get another carton from a local bike shop at departure town.
As for luggage I use a back-pack and a light-weight sack. Along the way I leave excess stuff at accommodation I’m coming back to.
It used to be that airports provided the kind of service you are speaking of, but not now. And even in the day it was never cheap. And yes, most definitely, a hotel you have stay at and will stay again will almost always be happy to help you out. Even if you don’t have a second stay at the end of your trip, they often will allow you to store your luggage with them. Also, as a secondary option (and more creative), often the local group you will be riding with can provide some help. In many countries of the world especially in the developing world, friendships and relationships are “everything”. So they often have a network of friends throughout the country, and it is no problem for them to ask for a little help (on your behalf). Of course you have to have a little trust in the person(s) with whom you are dealing with, but if the group is the mountain bike group, then it should be no problem. In many places of the world people are happy to get to know you as a foreigner. I have done similar and have found that it increased my faith in humanity. =)